Just one thing...

Blog Post created by Expert on Sep 2, 2015

If you've seen the movie City Slickers starring Billy Crystal, you may remember the character Curly as a hard-nosed, grumpy, downright-ornery, old cowboy.  In the movie, he shares with Jack (the character played by Crystal) the secret of life through his famous "one thing" speech.


With that as my inspiration, I want to share with you the "one thing" that makes a successful start to a new semester for us -- building a team.  At our institution, we have designers in the second floor of one building, support people in the basement of another, system admins in another, departmental tech liaisons all over campus, our ITS Help Desk in yet another building, and Instructure support in a totally different state.  This makes for a challenging team to build, but it works.  It works because each part of the team knows the other members of the team, what they do, and how they operate.


These 5 things are what make our team successful:

  1. Our course designers also provide backup Canvas user support and training.  During the busy times of year, the designers grab calls and support tickets from our ITS Help Desk just like everyone else.
  2. Our team communicates with each other in a back-channel.  Specifically, we use Slack as a group messaging application.  All the members of our local team use this to discuss calls, troubleshoot problem issues, and to share horror stories from our users.
  3. Our team has a functional ticket tracking system to use for institutional purposes.  When users call our ITS Help Desk about an institution-specific issue or Instructure Tier One support sends a user back to us for assistance, that ticket is logged and tracked.
  4. Our team knows when to send things back to Instructure for additional support.  In all levels of our organization, users are encouraged to call the experts at Instructure for support with Canvas.  When a user contacts us, we make sure to answer their questions while also helping them learn to contact Instructure Tier One for future requests.  Our system admins are also in frequent communication with our CSMs.
  5. Our team has fun!  Just today, we met at lunch and played a few rounds of Exploding Kittens!!  Exploding Kittens - A card game for people who are into kittens and explosions and laser beams and sometimes goats